On March 8, International Women's Day, Accenture released a report entitled, " Expectations and Achievement: Empowering Women from Within," concluding that that while both male and female executives believe their careers are progressing on course, women have lower expectations of how high they can climb on the corporate ladder.
The report, based on a survey of more than 2,200 executives in 13 countries, found that women were almost seven times more likely than men to cite gender as the primary reason for not advancing more quickly (26% versus 4%), with men ranking gender 16th on the list of barriers to achievement, behind things such as lack of passion for chosen career and lack of family support.
From a global perspective women in France (44%) and Sweden (42%) were most likely to feel their pace was slower, while women in Germany (15%) and Austria (14%) were least likely to perceive their pace of development as slower than men.
Some changes were for the good with 79% of women envisioning themselves at the senior management level versus 66% when they first started their career.
Beth Roberts, the executive sponsor of the Women's Initiative for Accenture, points to her own company as an example as to why more women see themselves in senior management roles. Throughout Accenture's offices there are monthly networking events for women. At these meetings women share success stories and talk about their own personal roadmaps.
The company also offers a very flexible working arrangement and offers part-time positions in their consulting business. "We find that our clients are receptive to flexible working arrangements," she says.
Looking to the future Beth would like to see companies tap into the vast network of qualified women who have left the workplace for family reasons but who would be willing to re-enter if conditions were right. "We just need to create awareness of the issues, put programs in place to addresses these issues and the rewards will be significant," she says.